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Poultry litter as a source of gastrointestinal helminth infections

Maurer, V.; Amsler, Z.; Perler, E. and Heckendorn, F. (2009) Poultry litter as a source of gastrointestinal helminth infections. Veterinary Parasitology, 161 (3-4), pp. 255-260. [In Press]

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Summary

The aim of this study carried out in 6 commercial layer houses was to examine the effect of litter management on water content, helminth egg count and litter infectiousness with the intestinal nematodes Ascaridia galli, Heterakis gallinarum, and Capillaria spp. Three types of litter management were established in each layer house in parallel: in compartment A, litterwas left undisturbed, in compartment B, wet litter was replaced and in compartment C, new litter material was added weekly. Dry matter (DM) contents of the litter and parasitological parameters (helminth egg concentration in litter samples, faecal egg counts (FECs) in the permanent layer flocks, helminth prevalence and burdens in two series of tracer animals) were determined every 4 weeks during the first 32 weeks of one laying period. DM contents of the litter varied in a broad range (48–95%); 8 weeks after onset of the study, there were significant differences between sites (P < 0.001) but not between management regimes. A. galli/H. gallinarum eggs were isolated from 91% of the litter samples, whereas eggs of Capillaria spp.were only extracted from 13% of the samples. Egg concentrations in litter remained at a similar level during the observation period. Neither management regime reduced helminth egg concentrations in the litter compared to the unmanaged regime. Laying hens started excreting helminth eggs 8 weeks after introduction to the layer house. In treatment C (litter added) FECs were lower than in the unmanaged treatment A in weeks 8 (P < 0.0001), 20, and 28 (both P < 0.1). There was no correlation between the concentration of helminth eggs in the litter and the FECs of the layer flocks. The prevalence of A. galli in tracer animals was lower (<10%) than the prevalences of H. gallinarum (68–80%) and Capillaria spp. (30–58%). Prevalences and H. gallinarum burdens did not differ significantly between management regimes. Although high helminth egg concentrations were found in litter, the prevalence and worm burdens in tracer animals were low compared to a similar study with tracers kept in poultry runs. The reasons for this may be that poultry litter negatively affects viability and infectiousness of helminth eggs. However, underlying mechanisms need to be clarified.
(c) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Type of presentation:Other
Keywords:Veterinärparasitologie, Endoparasitenkontrolle, Geflügel, Legehennen, laying hens, litter management, intestinal nematodes, Ascaridia galli, Heterakis gallinarum, Capillaria spp.
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Animal husbandry > Health and welfare
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Veterinary Parasitology
DOI:10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.01.020
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/de/schweiz/forschung/tierhaltung.html
Deposited By: Maurer, Dr. Veronika
ID Code:15614
Deposited On:26 Mar 2009
Last Modified:09 Dec 2010 14:37
Document Language:English
Status:In Press
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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